Parental Technology Governance: Teenagers’ Understandings and Responses to Parental Digital Mediation
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Research on parental mediation of children’s online engagements situate historically longstanding anxieties within the dynamics of present-day information communications technologies (i.e., concerns over new “cyber risks,” as well as opportunities). Yet, there remains a lack of emphasis on children’s reactions to and experiences with parental strategies and responses. In the current article, we highlight research involving semi-structured focus groups (n=35) with Canadian teenagers (n=115). We highlight themes directly related to parental digital mediation, including the role of ICTs in driving addictive behaviors, social connection, differences in parental responses between sons and daughters, and differences concerning age and birth order. Disrupting cultural discourses of young people who lack agency in relation to their use of ICTs, our discussions with teens reveal qualified support, even degrees of sympathy, for parental efforts to restrict access and use of digital technologies, but illuminate multifaceted reasons for resistance: their vital role not only for social connection but access to crucial information and knowledge.